Mountain Pointe High’s defense, roughed up by Pinnacle in the season opener a week earlier, came ready Friday, shutting down Mountain View, 45-18, at Karl Kiefer Stadium.
Just seven days removed from giving up 56 points at Pinnacle, some against Pioneer backups, the Pride (1-1) got to Mountain View quarterback Brandon Nunez often, not allowing him time or space to throw.
Motivated by that opening loss and hungry for the first home win, and the first win under new coach Rich Wellbrock, Mountain Pointe’s defense set the tone, starting with a tackle in the end zone for a safety by junior Rashion Hodge.
“Last week we lost and we knew we had to come back stronger,” Hodge said. “The defense was a little less complicated than last week.”
Noting that his defense was moving better and making quicker reads, Wellbrock said he was happy with the effort. The Pride shut down the Toros in the first half as they built a 25-0 lead and coasted home.
“We hit and flew around a little bit more early. That was something that I’m really pleased with. The linebackers played much better, and it was good to have them running around and having some fun out there,” Welbrock said.
Offensively, once again the connection between Pride senior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt and junior receiver Dominique Davis could not be stopped. The pair connected on three touchdown passes. In the opener, Davis caught five passes for 211 yards and a score.
After the safety, MP returned the ensuing punt to the Toros 37-yard line. It took one play for Wallerstedt to find Davis streaking down the field uncovered for an easy touchdown. Wellbrock told an assistant coach early that “our play is open.”
“We always try to make sure we connect on the deep ball,” Davis said.
Wallerstedt consistently threw Davis’ way, lobbing the ball and allowing 6-foot-2 Davis to elevate and grab it.
“I love it, and the post is my favorite route,” Davis said. “We just worked in practice over and over.”
Mountain View did not go down easily. An early defensive stop in the third quarter and good punt return gave some momentum to the Toros. Nunez made plays deep down the field, leading touchdown drives on successive possessions. Suddenly the lead was 13 midway through the third quarter.
“They hit us with something harder than we thought they would,” Hodge said.
Then Mountain View muffed a punt deep in its territory and Mountain Pointe recovered. That turnover seemingly gave away not only the ball but also the momentum.
“I think everybody in the building knew that was probably the end of their run. If they could have gotten the ball there and scored, we’d have a whole different ball game,” Wellbrock said.
As excited as he was to secure his first win with the Pride, Wellbrock said he still saw a lot of room for improvement.
Despite two interceptions and a recovered fumble, the Pride defense dropped a few interception chances and blew others with penalties. On offense, even though Davis caught three touchdown passes from Wallerstedt, he dropped a couple of long balls and Wallerstedt overthrew a couple of open receivers downfield.
Wellbrock views those mistakes as a chance to improve.
“I think they got better (since the opener). I’ve been telling everybody for quite a while that we’re going to be a different team come October and November. And, I still believe that,” Wellbrock said. “We left a lot of points out there tonight on both sides of the ball. This isn’t a finished product by any means, and that’s exciting as a coach.”
The Pride head to Henderson, Nevada, Saturday to face the No. 15 team in the nation, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham High, as part of the Touchdowns Against Cancer Games. Kickoff is 8 p.m.
Mountain View (1-2) visits Queen Creek on Friday.
Mountain Pointe 45, Mountain View 18
Mountain View 0 0 12 6 – 18
Mountain Pointe 9 16 7 13 – 45
MP – Safety, Hodge made tackle in end zone, 6:23
MP – Davis 37 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 6:07
MP – Davis 31 pass from Wallerstedt (kick failed), 7:18
MP – McKinney 4 run (Abercrombie kick), 4:53
MP – Abercrombie 27 FG, 0:12
MV – Clark 6 pass from Nunez (pass failed), 7:45
MV – Nunez 1 run (pass failed), 6:01
MP – Davis 14 pass from Wallerstedt (Abercrombie kick), 3:29
MP – Shank 75 interception (kick failed), 9:57
MP – Sanders 7 run (Abercrombie kick), 7:43
MV – Clark 37 pass from Nunez (pass failed), 6:45